We get time to volunteer as employees of GoDaddy and we can take time to go help others. I normally do an event that lasts the entire weekend and its fun. This year I was planning on participating in the event instead so I searched GoDaddy’s Volunteer web site and I found one. It was on Saturday February 27, 2016. It was at Kyrene Aprende Middle School to Judge National History Day in Arizona (East Valley Phoenix Regional Competition)

When I got to the school I began feeling out of place since I do not have any kids attending this school and I didn’t see any other GoDaddy people there. I got to the building I was reporting to when I opened the main set of doors I find hundreds of kids lining the halls all excited and amped up for this competition. I still wasn’t even certain what I signed up for really. Once I got in to the room I introduced myself saying “Hi, my name is Brian from GoDaddy.” And they were so happy we made a presence. I didn’t realize how important that was for them to see someone from GoDaddy. Not so much a guy named Brian.

I get seated with the judges that are judging individual and group website builds.  I was excited because this is definitely something I know a lot about. Then we began our morning meeting when they introduced what are roles were going to be and what areas we will be judging.  After the meeting we broke off into our teams. That’s when I was told I am not on the website judging panel I am judging the video biographies. I couldn’t understand why they put me there and not the websites. They said it’s the first time they have ever seen a tech company show up for history competition. “Chalk one up for GoDaddy”

What came next was meeting my team I had a woman that has been a history teacher for 40 years now retired from the upper class schools in Scottsdale as she was proud to claim. The other woman was our team leader and I noticed her the second I walked in the room she looked just like Wonder Woman and then there was me.

The first kid to present was showing us how Star Trek changed the racial and sexual revolution for equality during the 1960’s. So as it turns out its true. That girl educated me on this. The crew member Uhura told Gene Roddenberry she wanted to quit. He begged her not to and as she walked out on the street she ran into Dr. Martin Luther King. He told her he loved Star Trek and that Gene was making it comfortable for Americans to see a woman of ethnicity in a position of power ranked as an equal. So based upon the King’s advice she stayed on the show. A season or 2 later she became the first black on white kiss ever made on TV. By this time, I was amazed, and speechless I was not expecting that or a 25-page paper with 15 pages of sites and comments for each citation. After wards each of us judges had to ask 2 questions about what we learned from all the information and to engage in a teacher’s term called “sandwiching” To give praise on the best parts and offer suggestions on the parts that need improving. So that way we are never saying anything negative. I liked this philosophy so much I am going to use it every day.  There were 6 entries that we had to judge and then after judging we would need to eliminate 3 of them and allow the best 3 to continue to the State level of the competition called National History Day State Competition at ASU on April 16, 2016.

   The other 5 presentations were all different the next student presented on Alfred Hitchcock and his part in how we make suspense movies and how the change in the sound by speed or pitch can cause a terror inside us all. Along with other traits. Another was on Henry Ford and how production invented the very first assembly line. The next was on a Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich and three others. I would share what those were especially since the other presentation we advanced.

   When it came down to voting we all met back in that first classroom with our team to deliberate on our notes and who is advancing. We all had the same opinion on what ones but for many different reasons. I would just sit there and listen to my two team members go back and forth on their reasons for each one and then they would ask me. My reasons seemed like they were dumbed down reasons compared theirs. Wonder Woman said first that my perception of what I observed was much different than theirs and my reasons why I liked one over the other is a perspective they couldn’t see because they have only the history teacher mentality and not the observer. I at that moment felt I was making a difference and to the kids I voted forward and the way I explained to the ones that did not get advanced. To be able to say that in a way that would only give them inspiration for the next event. Many of these kids participate more than once to make it to state championships.

   To close, I have had a great unpredictable day that boasted the good feelings of volunteering not only for me but also for my company GoDaddy.  I felt proud to represent.  So should you.



By Brian Halstead

  February 28, 2016 

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